She was only an old lady - slim, not too tall, straight back. A pale face lined with wrinkles, sharp as creases. She wore a long, dark grey coat, and as she was looking at the shop display, everyone would have believed the camouflage.
In the old times, she mused - not seeing the expensive jewelery or the delicate china cups and saucers - people were afraid of her, but they would worship her nevertheless. In regular intervals, they had brought her - gifts. Special gifts. Things that were close to their hearts, irreplaceable gifts. They would act with a feeling of honour and commitment, and although it would make many families suffer - if the gift was their only one or if they loved it more dearly than it deserved - no one had thought about not coming to her.
Well, that was back then. The old woman straightened her shoulders and turned around. The time was near. She walked towards the traffic light, purse tucked tightly under her arm. A tiny hat with a dark grey veil sat on top of her silver-white hair, like a bird in its nest. She moved with grace and faster than most women of her age. She snickered at this thought.
The lights were red, and one of the kids next to her obviously didn't trust the official system. Seeing no car or bus near, he started running across the street.
The old woman's hand came down upon his shoulder like an eagle's claw on its prey. "Wait, boy."
"The traffic light is red. Don't you see it?" She looked him straight in the eye.
The child hesitated for the shortest of moments, then freed himself with an abrupt movement of his slender shoulders. "You're not my mother!" he simply said and turned around.
And was run over by a bus coming around the bend.
"You're right, dearie. I am not your mother." The old woman's face stayed calm, while around her people started to panik. Excited voices, shouts, people hurrying closer. She would play her part till it was over - she knew what the scene would be like, creating it insider her head as time moved forward. The unconsoleable old lady, trying to save a kid but unable to.
A soft shimmer rose from the dead body and rose up into the cold december air. She plucked it from the cold, with a gesture so small no one noticed it.
If they didn't bring her gifts, she would come and get them.